Larry Sabato has for many election cycles been one of the voices reporters and candidates follow for his expertise with campaigns being waged for congressional seats. His latest newsletter shows gains in the making for the Democratic side of the aisle.
— Democrats are now a little better than 50-50 to win the House. This is the first time this cycle we’ve gone beyond 50-50 odds on a House turnover.
— We’re making 17 House ratings changes this week, all in favor of the Democrats.
— One of those comes in OH-12, where the last nationally-watched special House election is taking place in a couple of weeks.
This week’s changes leave a very large number of Toss-ups: 36, 34 held by Republicans and just two held by Democrats. That leaves 200 districts at least leaning to the Republicans and 199 at least leaning to the Democrats, assuming the non-Toss-ups go the way we currently project (and there are shaky seats in both “Leans” columns).
That basically means that the party that wins about half of the Toss-ups (18 of 36 for Republicans, 19 of 36 for Democrats) will be the majority party in the House. At this point, we see the Democrats with slightly better odds to get their required share of the Toss-ups based largely on the environment, but also because they appear to have well-funded and credible challengers in these districts that can capitalize on that environment. But, as noted above, it’s not a slam dunk, and the GOP has the ability to hang on even if the big-picture national indicators (Trump’s approval and the generic ballot polling) do not get better for them. The danger for Republicans, and one thing that could put the House out of reach for them, is if those indicators get worse.